Archive for the ‘Teen/Middle Grade Fiction’ Category

re: Page Time for Adult Villains in YA Fiction?

posted 12/8/16

Dear Editor…

Here’s a problem I’d like your advice on. I understand wanting to keep my YA novel from a younger perspective, but my villains are adults. I hate flat villains so I wanted to give some back story. How much time do I spend on the adult antagonist?

Thank you,
Oldies But Baddies

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re: Which Swear Words are Allowed in YA Lit?

posted 7/19/16

Dear Editor…

I’m writing a YA novel. Quick question: How are words like screw, damn, cr*p, and sh*t looked upon? (Though I think I know the answer to the last one!)

Thanks,
Weighing My Words

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Guest Editor Carter Higgins: How to Tackle a Big Revision

posted 4/18/16

Dear Editor…

From a practical (logistical) standpoint, do you have any advice for how to tackle a large revision of a manuscript I haven’t read in over a year? I’ve just had it professionally edited. I’m thinking I’ll read through those edits, then print out the manuscript and read the whole thing. And make changes as I go? Or read it through once and then go through again and make changes? Or read it electronically and then make changes and then print it out? I just can’t decide quite how to approach it.

Sincerely,
J.

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re: Any Hope for Serious Middle Grade Fiction?

posted 11/2/15

Dear Editor…

My critique group is concerned my contemporary middle grade story might be too earnest/serious for the MG market, and they are wondering if I should do some work on sprinkling in more funny moments to break it up. Note: They haven’t read the whole manuscript at one time yet. Do you have a comment on that?

Sincerely,
Too Serious?

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re: Do Middle Graders Like Corny Metaphors?

posted 10/14/15

Dear Editor…

An editor recommended I read a book that would be a competitor to my middle grade adventure WIP. The book was engrossing enough to keep me entertained, but I think a lot of the metaphors were rather corny. Here’s a made-up one as an example: “His words were as hard as stale pizza.” In some cases, the author actually has two or three of these metaphors on a page and I found it distracting. I do note that the book is supposed to be playful as well as adventurous. My question: Is it okay to have metaphors like that for 10- to 12-year-olds? It seems corny to me, but then I am 63 years old, not 10.

Sincerely,
Young at Heart

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re: Writing a Romantic Scene for a Novel That’s Not Romance

posted 8/19/15

Dear Editor…

I need your help! I’m writing a book, and I don’t know how to incorporate a romance scene without making the whole book a romance. It’s a YA Novel, and I don’t want to ruin the book.

Sincerely,
H.

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re: Confused About Diversity

posted 6/9/15

Dear Editor…

I heard a panel at a recent conference say I had to be of a particular race to write about it, but at the same conference a different panel said I don’t have to be of a particular race to have those characters. I happen to have characters from three different countries in my middle grade fantasy WIP. Now I’m confused and questioning my WIP. Help?

Sincerely,
Confused About Diversity

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re: Is It MG Fiction If the Character Ages Into His 20s?

posted 1/14/15

Dear Editor…

I am writing a manuscript that starts with the MC at 7 yearrs old. He soon turns 9, then 11, then 15, and so on. The novel ends with him in his mid-20s. The voice starts out young and I want to pitch it as MG, but at the very end of the book, he does sound more mature (with slight, gradual changes throughout as the story moves along). Is it wrong to label this as MG? Should I make the voice mature from the beginning to avoid the changes at all? Am I doing something wrong?? I’m so confused! Help!!

Thank you!
Mary

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re: YA Characters in an NA Plot Can’t Be Good, Right?

posted 12/11/14

Dear Editor…

I thought I was writing a YA, but after reading a chapter of your Writing New Adult Fiction and interviews about the NA category, I’ve began to wonder if my characters and some of the content may be better suited for new adults. Plus, an agent asked questions about some of the actions taken by the antagonist and the legality of it all, suggesting they may not be suited for 13-17 readers. How do I know if this is NA or YA? My main protagonist and antagonist are 18, just graduated from high school, but my MC’s main partner in the adventure is 17. Maybe it would work better if she, too, were just graduated? Changing the plot would make the story feel forced. I’ll probably learn more as I read your book, but any advise for me now?

Sincerely,
Not Sure Which Way to Go

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re: How Come If I Stay’s Opening Works?

posted 9/22/14

Dear Readers…

Last week a writer—Diane—asked me why some current bestsellers that start with backstory or as the day is dawning can make those slower beginnings work so well? She specifically asked about The Fault in Our Stars and If I Stay. I posted my answer about The Fault in Our Stars last week. I think this is such a useful exploration of story beginnings that I’m taking up that same question today, this time parsing out If I Stay‘s opening.

The Editor

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